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Sure to spark lively conversation about readers’ own nicknames.

A young boy recounts the stories of his many nicknames.

Antonio is named after his father, his grandfather, and his great-grandfather—and his father’s best friend. He soon receives his first nickname in the hospital when his squinting eyes remind his mom of the vintage cartoon character Mr. Magoo. This nickname gives rise to several spinoffs, which, in addition to his first, middle, and last names, bring Antonio’s total number of names to six at just 3 days old. The pattern continues as Antonio’s Cuban family members bestow charming and often playful Spanish nicknames on him. Antonio, who is bilingual (speaking Spanish and English) like his papá, shares the story behind each name and eventually reaches 10 names. Trouble finds Antonio on the first day of kindergarten, when he has difficulty answering his name when the teacher takes attendance. Antonio is sent to the principal’s office to explain himself. There, he finds a friendly ally who delights in the story of his names and gives him one more as he heads back to class with her approval. This lighthearted look at collecting nicknames infuses the first-day-of-school genre with a new voice. Antonio’s mother is light-skinned and red-haired; his father is brown-skinned, dark-haired, and Cuban. The school principal is Black, and Antonio’s classmates are diverse. Unitalicized Spanish words and phrases appear throughout. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sure to spark lively conversation about readers’ own nicknames. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64170-657-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Familius

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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